What the resource is
A Teachers TV programme video providing a general understanding of what Autistic Spectrum Disorder(ASD) is from the perspective of a secondary aged pupil with the condition.
The aims of the resource
To provide a personal account from the viewpoint of an individual with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD but some quarters now advocate the use of the term Autistic Spectrum Condition, ASC) and link this with some theoretical underpinnings.
Key findings or focus
The focus is on an secondary pupil called John with the condition and he describes his experience so far, living and learning with autism. The video cuts to 'key experts' in the field, who link the theoretical background to ASD with John's experiences to help explain what autism is like for secondary age individual.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource
This video could be used as an undergraduate resource for ITE or for a specific ITE postgraduate pathway as the level of knowledge and understanding is to a more appropriate at that level. This video utilises the experience of Mike Collins from the National Autistic Society (NAS), and Sue Hatton from Autism West Midlands (AWM). Neither experts are key academic writers in the field, but they have extensive experience in this area and provide a basic introduction to theoretical underpinnings including an overview of autism as a neurological disorder.
Mike Collins based his discussion on the classic studies by Kanner and Asperger which form an essential starting point for ITE students who need to develop their subject knowledge. Students who are interested in developing their critical understanding of the subject area should consider researching key autism theory such as:
- - Triad of impairments
- - Theory of Mind
- - Weak Central Coherence
- - Executive function / dysfunction
- - Extreme Male Brain
Sue Hatton did make reference to practical examples to help illustrate some of the theoretical ideas proposed elsewhere in the video - this was useful. She briefly described the Triad of Impairments as "three balls being juggled" this enabled viewers to start to grasp the complexities of working with individuals with ASD. Hatton mentioned three key areas, predictability, security and empathy, attempting to link this to Theory of Mind (ToM).
The video contained an interesting reflective plenary which would be key for Teaching Assistants (TAs) working alongside individuals with ASD; as it contained good summative points relating to practice.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors
Mindful of its limitations, this video could be used as a basic introduction to ASD in the classroom; it would be very useful for undergraduate ITE students prior to undertaking a SEN placement. ITE mentors should use this as a starting point for more detailed training and practice-based enquiry at postgraduate level.
The relevance to ITE students
This has relevance when students require a primer on autism, however, some links to key academic texts for further reading would greatly enhance a student's knowledge and understanding.
The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:
Bogdashina, O. (2005) Theory of Mind and the Triad of Perspectives on Autism and Asperger Syndrome: A View from the Bridge, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
DfES (2002) Autistic Spectrum Disorder - Good practice Guidance. London. HMSO.
Frith, U. (2003) Autism: Explaining the Enigma, London: Blackwell Publishers.
Asperger, H. (1944) Die „Autistischen Psychopathen" im Kindesalter. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 117, 76-136.
Baron-Cohen, S. (1995) Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind, Mit Pr.
Baron-Cohen, S. (2002) The extreme male brain theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 248-254.
Baron-Cohen, S., Knickmeyer, R. C. & Belmonte, M. K. (2005) Sex Differences in the Brain: Implications for Explaining Autism. American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M. & Frith, U. (1985) Does the autistic child have a theory of mind. Cognition, 21, 13-125.
Baron-Cohen, S. & Wheelwright, S. (1999) Obsessions in children with autism or Asperger Syndrome: a content analysis in terms of core domains of cognition. British Journal of Psychiatry, 175, 484-490.
Frith, U. & Happe, F. (1995) Autism: Beyond ìtheory of mind.î. Cognition on Cognition, 13ñ30.
Happè, F. (1999) Autism: cognitive deficit or cognitive style? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3, 216-222.
Happè, F., Malhi, G. S. & Checkley, S. (2001) Acquired mind-blindness following frontal lobe surgery? A single case study of impaired ‘theory of mind'in a patient treated with stereotactic anterior capsulotomy. Neuropsychologia, 39, 83-90.
Kanner, L. (1943) Autistic disturbances of affective contact. . Nervous Child, 217-230.
Kanner, L. (1971) Follow-up study of eleven autistic children originally reported in 1943. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1, 119-145.
Kanner, L. (1973) The birth of early infantile autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 3, 93-95.
Wing, L. (1988) The continuum of autistic characteristics. Diagnosis and assessment in autism, 91-110.
Wing, L. (1991) The relationship between Asperger's syndrome and Kanner's autism. Autism and Asperger syndrome, 93-121.
Wing, L. (1993) The definition and prevalence of autism: A review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2, 61-74.
Wing, L. & Gould, J. (1979) Severe impairments of social interaction and associated abnormalities in children: Epidemiology and classification. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 11-29.